Before you know it, summer will be here. After the allure of playing in the backyard and discovering new apps have worn off, your kids will begin using the phrases all parents dread – "I'm bored." or "There's nothing to do."
In order to avoid the inevitable summer boredom and to limit screen time, look into a summer camp or program for your children to attend. Camps, whether week-long or day camps, are a great place to exercise, play, learn, and even make new friends.
There are several types of camps to choose from – band, drama, and sports, to name a few. Sewickley Academy Summer Programs offers classes and camps in each one of these areas including test preparation if you want your kids to get a jump start on taking the SAT test. Kids participate in creative and challenging academic and art programs and sports camps taught by Sewickley Academy faculty. The Summer Programs are open to kids entering Kindergarten through high school.
The YMCA offers many kinds of summer programs with numerous locations in and around Pittsburgh including day camps and traditional sleepover camps with different themes such as art. Various kinds of sports camps are also available. Some locations even offer camps for the entire family. For more information, go to the YMCA's website and choose the location nearest to you.
If you attend church, many churches offer religious themed day camps called Vacation Bible School (VBS). Most VBS programs are open to all kids whether they attend the church or not, so if your church doesn't have this program, others might. While they do tell Bible stories, many weave in other themes, such as dinosaurs, the old west, or space exploration. These types of camps are for children in Kindergarten through Grade 12, though some churches may have programs for younger kids. VBS offers games, crafts, story times, sports, and a chance to meet new friends with a similar, or different, faith. Check local churches' websites for dates, age groups, and ways to register.
Even with these options, you may still have some questions about choosing the right camp or program for your kids. While age is a consideration, you also want to consider their interests and hobbies. If your child loves campfires, fishing, sports, and boating, then a more traditional camp such as the Boy or Girl Scouts will most likely suit them best. Check with the Pittsburgh troop your child belongs to about summer camps.
If your children merely tolerate the outdoors and are more interested in music or crafts, look for camps with those activities as their main focus. You can search camps by musical instrument, which would be an excellent way for the kids to hone their skills. If the kids are in high school, these camps are also great activities to add to college applications.
The same is true for sports camps, particularly if your kids are continuing with their music or sport in college. If baseball is your child's sport of choice, there are camps hosted by the Pittsburgh Pirates right here in the city. The kids even get their own uniforms, a tour of PNC Park, and a chance to meet past and present players.
If science is your kid's passion, there are camps that focus on that as well. Some are outdoors, and nature is a great place for collecting bugs, while others are equipped with labs or other indoor settings. The Carnegie Science Center offers kids ages four to 14 the opportunity to learn about the science of roller coasters, explore a submarine, or visit the Buhl Planetarium.
If your child has a disability, that doesn't mean summer camps are out of the question. Look into the type of programs local camps offer and don't be afraid to ask questions about accommodating your child. If need be, there are camps tailor-made for certain physical disabilities, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which offers a wheelchair accessible camp.
Don't forget to ask for the kids input as to where they want to camp, the theme of the camp, and the duration. Not all kids are ready to be away from home for an entire week. No matter your child's interest or abilities, you'll most likely be able to find a camp or day program they will love and remember for years to come.